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Co-parenting versus parallel parenting

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2022 | Family Law |

There’s a big push for co-parenting. The idea is that two divorced people can openly communicate the intimacies of a child’s daily living and partake in shared activities. However, divorced parents can’t always get along well enough to do that.

In that case, there’s parallel parenting. While parallel parenting isn’t as cohesive as co-parenting, it can have its benefits, too. Here’s an idea of what parallel parenting is and when it might be better suited.

When there’s too much conflict, parallel parenting can work

Sometimes two people just can’t get along. Even if you try to communicate openly, there are certain relationships that just spiral into hostility or one parent might feel like they’re constantly being baited. When communication is not productive, parallel parenting may help salvage the situation.

Parallel parenting offers each parent their own time without the input of the other parent. Specific expectations like a drop-off, routine, and behavioral considerations are outlined before the start of each parenting time.

Parallel parenting limits the amount of communication each parent has with the other but allows each parent to have maximum involvement when it’s their time with the child. Parallel parenting may be appropriate for:

  • Parents who have a hard time communicating.
  • Parents who can’t work with each other.
  • When there is a no-contact order in place.
  • When one parent has a narcissistic personality disorder.

Children tend to be the one who suffers the most when parents can’t get along. Instead of constant combat, parallel parenting plans may be better suited.

Deciding what’s right

Tensions are generally high at the very beginning of divorce situations. There are a lot of raw emotions happening. Choosing parallel parenting initially doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to keep the same plan in place forever. If you’re going through a divorce, you might want to become familiar with visitation or child custody laws to help protect your family.


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